Updated: May 16, 2020
What if it’s simply to be together around the dinner table, perhaps a last meal together for a particular family member, who might be going away to school or moving to another state to start a new job, or getting married, or dealing with a serious illness, or……………..?
What if, at its heart, it’s simply:
Sharing a meal
Consoling someone going through a rough patch
Celebrating and being grateful for what we do have
Telling stories about our day
Reminding one another what’s important
Recalling family history
Asking for and offering forgiveness
Accepting people as they are
Look beyond the elements of bread and wine – they are just symbols.
(1 Cor. 12:27 - I encourage you to read the whole chapter - we are all connected - "ligimented" if you like. "Religion" [re-ligio] literally means "re-ligimented, reconnected")
The Eucharist is a take-out meal...
...so, let’s offer ourselves to one another as bread for the world.
AA applies this in its 12th Step - To keep it (recovery), you gotta give it away.
"If it's not big enough to share, it's not big enough to satisfy."
"Christ is the bread, awaiting hunger."
— St. Augustine
It's not about worthiness...all we need is hunger... (please read this freeing meditation)
Jesus eats elbow-to-elbow, burps-to-farts with his friends. He doesn’t separate himself from them and eat at a special table away from those he cares about.
He did say do this loving of one another as a way to remember him and his example. “And the world will know we are his followers by our love” (John 13:35).
He never said “the world will know we are his followers by our dogmas and doctrines.”
He did say “love your enemies, forgive your brother from your heart.” (ck other Beatitudes)
He never said God hates________ (fill in all the types of people who are different from you, who do not believe what you believe, who do not live a lifestyle you approve of, etc.).
Do WHAT in memory of me?
Looking at the Scriptures I wonder how we developed such elaborate Eucharistic services.
Jesus’ message is very simple - “All he was saying is give peace a chance (love one another).”
“DO what I’ve done…”
Digesting the scriptures about this last meal with his friends
Matt. 26:17-30 - no mention of this instruction (“do this in memory of me”)
Mark 14:12-26 – no mention of this instruction
· In v. 17 Jesus says, “Take this (cup) and divide it among you.”
· In v. 19 he continues, “And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’”
· And v. 20 continues: “In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.’”
Luke summary: In these three verses, we are being told to imitate Jesus’ example by offering our very selves as bread broken and offered up for the world. And this will always involve drinking from the cup of suffering – a cup we share with him. “Love one another as I have loved you.”
John 13:1 to 14:31 –
Summary of John's account: “DO what I’ve done - Wash one another’s feet.”
This section is completely different from the news reporters’ versions given to us by Matthew, Mark and Luke. John moves beyond the facts to share with us G-d’s very heart.
“…the disciple that Jesus loved…” (13:23) informs us that John had a special and intimate relationship with his Teacher and Friend. This section describes John as seated next to Jesus (a place of honor); who, at Peter’s request “lean[ed] back against him (Jesus)” and asked Jesus to tell him who was going to betray him. Truly a heart-to-heart relationship – one to which we are all invited. It’s not about dogma and doctrine – it’s about relationship!
Final words to his friends: “Wash one another’s feet.”
One of my favorite passages because, for starters, it features two guys that have my first and middle names – Thomas and Peter – two ordinary folks that still don’t understand because they are trying to figure out Jesus’ message with their ordinary dualistic consciousness. The solution, as Jesus will relate later in this section, is that their consciousness needs an upgrade – a Spirit download from the cloud that will open their eyes, especially, the eyes of their hearts. So, you could say they needed both brain and heart transplants.
Above all else, this section reveals the very heart of G-d.
Jesus knew who he was and where he was going. From this identity and destination, he completed his mission: which was also his father’s – a complete offering of himself in service to others.
Gotta Serve Somebody – Bob Dylan (0:06:37)
"To a hungry man, a piece of bread is the face of God."
Loaves and Fishes
This is not
the age of information.
This is not
the age of information.
Forget the news,
and the radio,
and the blurred screen.
This is the time of loaves
People are hungry
and one good word is bread
for a thousand.
~ David Whyte (cited here)
The Eucharistic mime, and that is what it is—a story enacted through motions more than words—has four main aspects that we are to imitate from Jesus’ first enactment.
1) You also should take your full life in your hands. In very physical and scandalously incarnational language, table bread is daringly called “my body” and wine is called “my blood.” You are saying a radical “yes” to both the physical universe itself and the bloody suffering of your own life and all the world.
2) You then thank God (eucharisteo in Greek)
3) You choose to break your life and death wide open.
4) You then chew on this mystery for all the rest of your days!
(see above link for the rest of this Daily Meditation)
"At the Last Supper, when Jesus held up the bread and spoke the words 'This is my Body,' I believe he was speaking not just about the bread right in front of him, but about the whole universe, about every thing that is physical, material, and yet also spirit-filled. (Sunday)
Wherever the material and the spiritual coincide, we have the Christ. That includes the material world, the natural world, the animal world (including humans), and moves all the way to the elemental world, symbolized by bread and wine. (Monday)
How daring and shocking it was for Jesus to turn the whole tradition of impure blood upside down and make blood holy! (Tuesday)
Much of later Christianity has been rather prudish and ashamed of the human body, which God took on so happily through Jesus and then gave away to us so freely in the Eucharist. (Wednesday)
In the Eucharist, a true believer is eating what he or she is afraid to see and afraid to accept: The whole universe is the body of God, both in its essence and in its suffering. (Thursday)
[To] experience the ordinary as extraordinary . . . is experiencing the world as God’s body, the ordinariness of all bodies contained within and empowered by the divine. —Sallie McFague (Friday)"
As is the custom, the weekly summary includes a contemplative practice that helps the message to get into our pores...into our cells...into our incarnational bodies. This week's practice was foot washing. It began by presenting John's account and then offered this suggestion:
"While sometimes reserved for Holy Thursday, foot washing as contemplative practice can happen any time, with anyone. Invite someone to share this ritual with you—if you both are comfortable having your feet touched by each other. No particular script or special space is needed, just a basin, warm water, towels, and your authentic presence. You might choose to wash in silence, focusing on the physical sensations. Or you may wish to talk about what you mean to each other, express gratitude, or ask for forgiveness. However you choose to practice foot washing, I hope it helps you experience your own and your companion’s bodies as God’s body."